Yachting: Team NZ advance to semifinals

By Dana Johannsen of the New Zealand Herald in San Francisco

Crew members of Emirates Team New Zealand tack during qualifying on San Francisco Bay for the America's Cup World Series sailing event in San Francisco. Photo / AP
Crew members of Emirates Team New Zealand tack during qualifying on San Francisco Bay for the America's Cup World Series sailing event in San Francisco. Photo / AP

Team New Zealand are through to the semifinals of the match-racing in the America's Cup World Series, but have some ground to make up in the fleet-racing after a mixed day on San Francisco Bay today.

Disappointed by a poor showing at the America's Cup venue in the opening round of the 2012/13 series earlier this year, Dean Barker's crew are determined to produce a more clinical performance this time around. And today's quarter-final win over Energy Team France was certainly that.

Racing on a relatively calm San Francisco Bay - with the wind blowing 9-13 knots and a flat sea - Team New Zealand dispatched Loick Peyron by a comfortable margin after seizing control of the race on the second upwind beat.

In today's other quarter-final, young New Zealand sailor Peter Burling could not repeat his heroics from the opening day and was easily accounted for by Team Artemis' Terry Hutchinson.

The quarter-finals of the match-racing have been split across two days, with organisers having to shoehorn the programme in around the Fleet Week festivities.

The first two races were pushed through earlier in the day, before the race course was cleared to allow the US Navy's flight demonstration squadron - known as the Blue Angels - to practice over the Bay ahead of the weekend's annual celebration of the nation's military.

The two remaining quarter-final matches are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, with Nathan Outteridge in Artemis Red taking on Russell Coutts and Oracle's other entry skipped by Jimmy Spithill taking on Ben Ainslie Racing.

Returning in the afternoon for the beginning of the fleet racing programme, Team New Zealand made a strong start in the opening race when they finished second behind Ben Ainslie Racing.

But they slipped to fifth overall in the standings after finishing a disappointing eighth in the second race.

Ainslie's team top the standings on 21 points after recording a third in the second race, while Spithill (8, 1) is second and Outteridge third (4, 4).

- NZ Herald

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